I just heard the sad news that Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away this morning — she had leukemia.
The elder Mrs Troi was always one of my favorite characters on Star Trek TNG (and later DS9). Still, I can’t help but imagine the awesomeness that would have been had she been allowed to play the role of Number One on the original Star Trek. For those who don’t know, Star Trek’s original pilot, “The Cage”, was slightly different from the show as it eventually aired. Shatner was not the captain, Spock was all emotional and shit, and the first officer was a woman, played by Majel. I don’t think she ever got a name; the Captain always refered to her as Number One (something Kirk never did to Spock, as far as I know, but what Picard often called Riker). When Roddenberry showed the pilot to CBS, they wanted some changes. Big changes. Apparently they hated both Spock and Number One, and Gene felt he could only fight to keep one of them, so he fought for Spock.
Eventually Majel did get to play Nurse Chapel, but a female first officer did not emerge until DS9.
Though I love Spock, there are times when I wonder how awesome it would have been if he’d chosen to fight for Number One.
Here’s to you, Mrs. Barrett-Roddenberry, the first officer of the Enterprise that should have been.